Bernardston library fundraiser brings books to life

  • Carolyn and Jim Bellany sing “When You Wore a Tulip (and I Wore a Big Red Rose)” during the Cushman Library radio show fundraiser Thursday. RECORDER STAFF/SHELBY ASHLINE

  • Karen Stinchfield, director of Cushman Library, reads “The Hidden House” during the library’s radio show fundraiser Thursday night. RECORDER STAFF/SHELBY ASHLINE

  • Tomy Byrnes reads "Where the Wild Things Are" during Cushman Library's radio show fundraiser Thursday night. RECORDER STAFF/SHELBY ASHLINE

Recorder Staff
Published: 7/3/2016 11:16:38 PM

BERNARDSTON — As Tommy Byrnes read “Where the Wild Things Are” before roughly 20 townspeople in Cushman Library, the audience roared and lashed out with pretend claws.

When Byrnes read “Let the wild rumpus start!” the floor shook as the audience stomped, shook containers of beads and shouted to bring the book to life.

“Where the Wild Things Are” was just one of several books and poems that were read and songs that were sung during Cushman Library’s first radio show fundraiser recently. Library staff have organized multiple fundraisers hoping to raise $5,000 to install a new 250-gallon indoor oil tank.

Karen Stinchfield, director of Cushman Library, spoke briefly Thursday about the event’s goals. She wants to replace the existing in-ground 1,000-gallon oil tank with one that better suits the needs of the library and that will give library staff peace of mind.

“There are inherent dangers with inground tanks,” Stinchfield said. Buried fuel tanks are generally considered a liability today due to the possibility of their leaking.

Though Stinchfield didn’t charge admission, a donation basket was passed around and $181 was collected, adding to the $1,400 that donors had already contributed.

In addition, the Four Leaf Clover Restaurant donated 10 percent of all breakfast, lunch and dinner sales on that day, which amounted to roughly $450, bringing the total amount raised thus far to around $2,000.

While the primary goal of the event was fundraising, it was also intended as a fun activity to bring together library staff and patrons. Stinchfield was pleased with the turnout and lineup of presenters.

“It felt like a love letter to libraries, and to reading, and to our library,” Stinchfield said.

As BNCTV recorded video, several speakers took the podium to talk about their love for books.

“Books are the magic door,” said Barry Dietz, who acted as the event’s master of ceremonies. “They open doors to all kinds of places.”

Deitz quoted Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Anne Tyler.

“Anne Tyler once said ‘I write because I want to live more than one life,’” Deitz said. “And of course, we read for the exact same reason.”

Other library patrons stood up to share memories of Cushman Library, including 17-year-old Julia Duprey, who has been coming to Cushman Library since she was 3.

“I come here almost every day that they’re open,” Duprey said. “Cushman Library has been part of my childhood. Where would I be without it? I wouldn’t have books.”

Sandra Haynes, Dietz’s wife and a library patron who came up with the idea for the radio fundraiser, holds Cushman Library close to her heart. She fondly remembers coming to the library with her sister as a child, and plowing through science-fiction books, “The Hardy Boys” and various Nancy Drew books. When she found “The Secret Garden” on a rack for sale, she obtained a part of the library that has been with her for 30 years.

“This is my piece of the library that I take home with me,” Haynes said, holding up the book for the crowd to see. “You never know what treasures the library is going to give you and how they will stay with you.”

Stinchfield said she would consider holding another radio show in the future, and that once she reaches her fundraising goal of $5,000, all other donations will be used to improve the building.

The library’s next fundraiser, a 24-hour read-athon, will take place July 16, starting at 3:30 p.m.


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